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Category: Main Street Page 1 of 6

Seiza Japanese Cuisine

Looking for a grown up, night out on Main Street, my guest and I found ourselves at Seiza for some sushi and sake. The space has a modern vibe, befitting of a lounge, leading you to drink, and that we did.

Social distancing is cleverly enforced by the use of plastic bears painted to look like pop culture icons and concepts, including Pennywise from IT and Homer from the Simpsons. (I believe this is considered couture art.)I wanted a closer look, but sadly, where they sat you weren’t allowed to share their table. Though I did enjoy admiring them from afar. And in the spirit of cohesion, their smaller framed brethren hung on the wall as decor, as well.

Seiza’s menu is dense and chic, a hefty listing that spans pages and categories. Although with little descriptions and even less photos it is hard to order without asking a barrage of questions to your server first. Though with his help, we stuck to many of their house specialities, as a first time try.

Like the “Zombie brain”, named for its perceived look, this was a whole avocado split into quarters and stuffed with crab meat, then battered and deep fried, before getting a generous drizzle of spicy mayo. It was messy and mushy, yet satisfying in its crunchy meets squishy texture. (The name suddenly makes sense here.) As for taste it was delicious, great with beer, or after when you need to sober up from all the beer.

Speaking of beer, as we were in a Japanese restaurant, we decided to go for Japanese libations. A combination of hot sake and cold Sapporo to set the tone. The sake getting chased down by the refreshing, light beer on special for $1 off. Apparently this type of pairing is commonplace, but new to me, and I cherished the experience.

But back to the food: There was a sheet of specials to order off of. When I hear and read specials I think discounted food the restaurant wants you to try. However after being enticed, we learned that not all of them were on discount. An obvious point when we compared the regular menu with this abbreviated listing. Nonetheless we went for the uni cream udon at full price. I feel that ordering uni at any Japanese restaurant speaks to its caliber, in quality of ingredients used. And unfortunately the one normal looking piece of uni was hiding 2 grey and discoloured pieces, and this action spoke volumes. And at over $20 for this serving I expected better, considering the portion size was on the smaller size with 3.5 pieces of shrimp and 2 florets of broccoli. The flavour was at least there and the cream sauce tasty without actual uni flavour. I enjoyed the noodles the most. However the udon shouldn’t be my favourite part when it’s only the third word in the dish’s name: “uni cream udon”.

The rolls fared better in our opinion, however they were no different or standout from any crazily dressed and additionally topped rolls you can get anywhere. Due to my guest’s shellfish allergies and fish preferences we kept it salmon all the way, trying three different methods of salmon sushi preparation.

The first is the “Sexy salmon roll”, I am guessing for the way it looks, and then the way it makes you feel: no carbs in this so a slimmer you it insinuates. Here they used crab meat instead of rice. Although a clever no carb substitute, I found its sweetness overpowering, hiding the freshness of the salmon, which should have been the star of this offering.

The “Salmon oshizushi” gave you cooked salmon, which I don’t think was the intention. It was a lot more torched than I wanted, but at least I got the salmon flavour I was looking for here. This was the best out of the three, but I have had much better else where.

The “Ironman roll” hid everything under Japanese mayo and spicy washed tobiko. The menu listed Sockeye salmon, chicken, avocado, and tobiko as its ingredient make up. However I didn’t see or taste avocado, and the chicken was only filler. This sweet and tangy roll did pair well with our beers though.

And just for something to balance out all the punchy flavours, we got a regular Spicy yam tempura roll that wasn’t so spicy.

Overall this isn’t necessarily a destination or a stop if you are craving Japanese food or sushi. But decent as a pub, offering fusion fare with flare.

Seiza Japanese Cuisine
3068 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3G5
(604) 428-5700
seiza.ca

Sula, the second location on Main Street

Being a fan of the original Sula, Indian restaurant on Commercial Drive, I was excited to try their second and newest location on Main Street, one week after they had opened. And boy was I not disappointed by decor alone.

The space is warm and opulent in a time that requires us to be cold and distant. Glowing lights suspended by gold; they matched the copper of the table settings and the brown and oranges of the bar. Shame that their opening coincides with these times, because I can definitely see them as a place to linger and enjoy lively company within. They certainly have the drink list to keep you sipping long into the night. Including a healthy Gin and Tonic listing, much to my guest’s delight.

The “Kerala” is a mix of Tanqueray Rangpur, Kaffir Lime, Green Cardamom, and Mediterranean Tonic. It is an effervescent cocktail, sparklingly light, and finished off with a tangy punch.

“Vayu’s Calm” includes Hendricks Gin, Spanish White Vermouth,
Green Chartreuse, Cardamom, Mint, and Lime. This reminded me more of margarita, especially with how lime focused it was. I was just missing the salt.

Round two of cocktails had us trying the “Cosmic Dance” with Big Boss Cashew Fenny, Old Grand Dad Bourbon, Apple, Honey, Chili, and Spices. This one was more my speed. A heavy sipper with a dull heat that is slow to burn the back for your throat. This is the kind of cocktail I want to drink if I am under the weather.

The “Delhi Junction” included Fenugreek-infused Bombay Sapphire, Fino
Sherry, Dry Vermouth, and Aromatic Bitters. This was their take on a martini, but more subdued. It was a new flavour combination for me, one I can only best describe as being herbaceous in a juicy way.

Whereas the cocktails at the Commercial Drive location are sweet and tropical, these are more refined and for the spirit connoisseur. This bar is one you would make a bee-line to, just for a stiff drink or three. Therefore, it would have been nice to start off with a small bowl of mixed nuts or crackers, to really celebrate the bar list and align them more with a place you would frequent for their cocktails.

Instead we nibbled on a couple of appetizer’s whose serving served more as an entree. As good as they were, I would have liked 1/3 of each presented as a starter, in order to save room for all the entrees you can’t help but be curious to try later.

The Indian Street food and Chaats are dine in only, due to the nature of the dishes and the need to enjoy them fresh and crispy. Chaat is a category of Indian street food that hits every component of taste. It is a combination of sweet, sour, tangy, crunchy, umami, and spicy.

The “Papdi Chaat” is Indian canape wafers topped with potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt and chutneys. It ate like a bowl of cereal or platter of nachos. Although as good as it was in texture and taste, less would have been more. This was enough for 6, but ordered for 2.

The “Mumbai Vada” is a dairy-free battered potato dumpling seasoned with green chilli, tempered cumin, and mustard. I expected a fully encased bundle, but was served my dumpling pre-cut up. From presentation sake, I would have liked this in smaller bites, left as a whole. Flavour and texture wise, it was much like a somosa, but without the traditional accompanying chutneys.

When it comes to Indian cuisine, it doesn’t matter where I go, or how much I try, I always gravitate towards butter chicken. I would not be satisfied without giving Sula on Main’s version a try, and sauce wise it held up. Rich and creamy with the flavour of their Tandoor broiled chicken in tomato, cream and butter sauce coming through. My only critique was that the pieces of chicken were dry, despite them being left in large bulky chunks. I Would have liked bite sized portion of chicken, cooked tendered instead.

And unique to the Main Street location is Sula’s seafood offerings. It showcased the regional cuisine of Mangalore, a coastal town in the southern part of India. Between lobster and crab, we gravitated towards crab due to our server’s suggestion, however based on what we had, I would suggest the lobster instead.

 

The “Jenji Gassi” is local Dungeness crab cooked in a coconut curry, highlighting flavours from byadigi chillies, poppy seeds, and cumin. The crab was cumbersome to crack in such an opulent setting. I appreciated its whole, shell and all in our presented serving. However, found the work it took to crack and peel not worth the little amount of meat that came out of it; especially as it was bland. The sauce on the other hand was a treasure. I sopped it all up with the naan below and greedily drizzled it over the rice as well.

 

The Main Street location of Sula also boasts a Tandoori oven, so we were sure to partake in a couple of dishes that required a longer baking. The following two came with a 30 minute warning, so order early and expect to wait with cocktails in hand.

The “Tangdi Kebabs” were described as “Iran’s culinary gift to India”. They are chicken drumsticks char-grilled in the tandoor. The result, an excellent grill flavour from the blacken char, with the smokiness adding levels to the chicken’s seasoning. And here I thought I liked it a lot, until I tried the lamb below.

The “Adraki Lamb Chops” are roasted with crushed cashew bits and seasoned with garam masala, cumin, and a coriander spiced marinade. You got the crunch of the cashew offering a nice contrast to the perfectly prepared, tender and juicy lamb meat. If, no when I return, I will definitely be ordering this again.

And no Indian meal is complete without the rice and naan necessary to soak up all the delicious sauces with. I would be just as happy with just the butter chicken or crab sauce and naan.

The “Tandoori Naan” is a classic as an extra pillowy tandoori Indian flat bread. For something a little different Sula also has stuffed naan. We tried the one sandwiching spinach and Indian cheese, paneer. The addition added an extra level of indulgence to something already so great. I have never see such an innovation else where, so credit Sula its creation.  And I can recommend it just as easily as an appetizer to start with.

For rice, I was disappointed by the coconut rice. Its broken texture did not lend itself to the already soften dishes, and the coconut flavour did not add anything to anything. Instead, I recommend the basmati rice for its fragrant taste and texture. A better mild companion to all the great flavours above.

And don’t forget to save room for dessert. A semi-sweet end to help cleanse the palate is the mango coconut rice pudding with cardamon and rosewater. It eats like a dessert oatmeal with a freshness that leaves you with a cleaner mouth feeling.

Like between two children from the same parents, I hate to pick favourites here, but the new Sula on Main with it sophisticated setting and specialty menu have won me over as my favourite between the two.

SULA MAIN STREET
4172 Main Street, Vancouver BC
604-874-5375
sulaindianrestaurant.com

Anthem Pizza, pizza with a purpose

With the second wave lockdown in effect, there is no better time to introduce a new pizza delivery company to the Lower Mainland: Anthem Pizza. Campy and fun, their packaging and motto sets them apart. That, and their charitable mission. Every slice you purchase has Anthem giving back to one of three worthy charities. One: BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Two: Unison Benevolent Fund, which helps Canadian musicians in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties by providing counselling and emergency relief. And in time for the tail end of November: Movember, where Anthem will be donating 10% of its proceeds from each pizza sold, to Movember. Movember is charity dedicated to addressing and advancing men’s health issues like mental health, suicide prevention, and prostate and/or testicular cancer.

“Pizza with a purpose” aside, if you need even more reasons to purchase their pies, look no further than to their packaging. Each pie comes in a pink and white stripped box with punk rock and pop culture references. Artsy and fun they serve just as much as a statement as they do cardboard container. But if you are like me, you may want to Google some of the faces you don’t recognize, to learn a thing or two. And if you like what you see, they have put it on a tee, for sale. Available for ordering from their online store.

And as for the pizza, I was delivered two, contact-free. The first was “The Ace of Spades”. A simple margherita pizza made with tomato sauce, basil, fior di latte, and extra virgin olive oil. Simple and clean over a more bread-like dough. Here, what you see is what you get, pulled together with a sweeter tomato sauce. Mild and gentle is the best way to describe it.

Similarly, the “Hot Honey” we tried used the same sweeter tomato sauce base, and to it added hot soppressata calabrese, black olives, shredded mozzarella, and Mike’s Famous Hot Honey. Sadly I was most excited for the latter, so found myself missing it when I didn’t get much sweetness of spice. It would have been nice to have a container of it on the side for self drizzle. Other than that this was another play no games pizza, delivering on its ingredient list; all over a chewy, more bready crust. So bread-like that I wanted a dip with it and found myself reaching of the bottle of ranch in the fridge.

And if you are interesting in giving them a try, now is the time. To celebrate its official launch, Anthem will be offering its Motörhead-inspired ‘Ace of Spades’ (a.k.a. Margherita) pizzas for only $10 (regular $18); from‪ Friday, November 20 through to Monday, November 30.‬ This exclusive offer is only available when you use the promo code ‘ANTHEM’ when ordering online via anthempizza.ca for pickup at The Five Point Restaurant & Pub (‪3124 Main Street‬) and Park Drive (1815 Commercial Drive). Quantities are limited to one pizza, per customer nightly, while supplies last.

Anthem Pizza
604-425-1129
anthempizza.ca

King Size Bubble Tea & Games

My friend got invited down to “King Size Bubble Tea” on Main Street for a drink and some karaoke. The shoppe reached out to her after seeing her wacky personality come alive on social media. So she called me up for a fun afternoon of bbt and singing.

They have been a go-to for bubble tea in the Main Street area for 2 years now (previously known as “7 Lemon”), but only recently have they expanded their entertainment offerings to include karaoke, so were now excited to share. Their goal is to bring something different to the world of bbt cafés. As it is getting harder to compete with the international imports planting roots in Canada, with many more shops breaking soil thereafter. So here at “King Sized” they are focusing on the environment in which their drinks are being served. What more can their guests do, after buying a cup and nursing it for an hour or two.

The decor definitely speaks to the above. Walking in, it felt like someone’s bedroom, and it certainly took me back to mine growing up. There were multiple nods to gaming and anime with “One Piece” “wanted” posters on the wall, “Gundam” builds proudly displayed on the shelves, “Yu-Gi-Oh!” playing cards and their tins, and “Bleach” posters; from what I was familiar with.

For games they had the classic board games like Battle Ship, Guess Who, and Card Against Humanity. There was an electronic darts machine in the corner, and old fashion wooden chess set up at the ready, and a gaming station with Nintendo’s Game Cube and an Xbox 360 plugged in.

As for the karaoke, our visit was at 1pm, right when they opened on the weekend. And as long as you have the courage and are willing to grab the mike and belt out your favourite tune, you can sing any time of the day. The karaoke machine syncs up to your phone when you connect to one of their wifi networks. From there, you pick your song off of the YouTube app, choosing a lyric video so that you can read along. Although there are also actual karaoke song versions available, where you can only hear the melody, minus the vocals. And viola, easy karaoke with out the licence.

When it comes to drinks, their menu hosts all the familiar bubbletea flavours: slushes, steep teas with fruit, and milk based teas. Be warned if you have dairy restrictions, they only use real milk, therefore you will have to avoid the entire milk tea collection. I was fine, so got their classic milk tea, which ended up being too sweet. They gave me a choice in sweetness and ice, but I left it as “normal”, not knowing any better. I did like how their pearls were warm and extra squishy though.

My host however has a dairy allergy, so went with the recommended strawberry lemon tea made with real strawberry fruit. It was lemon forward, with the underlying flavour of rose, and very little tea. She declared that she liked it, despite not typically liking tea drinks.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
In short, a fun spot to hang out at, with drinks and games to play. Don’t deny your cravings.

KING SIZE BUBBLETEA
4385 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3R1
(778) 379-7060
kingsizebubbletea.com

El Camino’s brunch

My friend and I were meeting up on Main Street, and looking for a quick bite to eat. She suggested “El Camino’s”, and seeing as we both have never been, we made it our destination.

Named after the vintage car, they have used its likeness as their logo. A red Chevrolet in front of a orangey-yellow sunburst. The exterior isn’t much to look at with the patio covered by a waterproof tarp. A large contrast to the warm and photographic exterior that awaits within. As their sign out front advertised, they have cocktails and a very well furnished bar to craft almost anything. Its expanse greets you at the door, shelves featuring tequila reaching out towards either direction. To the right a more formal dining area, set to a backdrop of Spanish painted on to cement bricks. To the left, more of a bar feel with high top tables in front for a mural. Yellow eyes peering out from behind a wall of blood red roses. We would grab a seat in between, two high stools against a makeshift table top, balanced on an ornately painted barrel. The lot of it gave the room a certain western feel, befitting of their namesake.

The brunch menu included the usual famialr breakfast offerings of fruit bowls and fried eggs; but with Latin American-inspired sides and flourishes like salsa, tortilla chips, and black beans.

My guest got the “Tomatican hash”, a Chilean stew of tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn and potatoes; topped with braised short rib, a poached egg, hollandaise, and tortilla chips. It ate like chips and salsa but with stew for dipping into. Thanks to the side of potatoes and the tortilla, this ate like two different plates in its variety.

I had one of the three Benedicts. It was a plate of two poached egg, a smokey hollandaise, hash browns, pulled pork, and pickled jalapeño on cornbread. This was deliciously done and exactly as how I envisioned it when ordering. The sweetness of the cornbread played off the salty pork, and now and again you would get the heat from a rouge jalapeño. Not to mention both eggs were perfectly poached and creamy with the hollandaise. I would return just for this.

But if you needed a bit more zip to your plate, look to any of the three bottles of house made hot sauces and barbecue sauces, stationed at every table.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Given how much we both liked our plates, I would want to come back to try more of their brunch menu and work my way through dinner and lunch as well. Don’t deny your cravings.

EL CAMINO’S
3250 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3M6
(604) 875-6246
elcaminos.ca

Cocktail and pizza making class at Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Getting crafty, cocktail and pizza making parties where you learn to create your own seasonal cocktails and the perfect pizza pie!

“Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.” continues to give you reasons to return. More than just healthy meal solutions, they also host children’s pizza making parties. And for all those parents and caretakers that attend, but can’t fully participate, it is now your turn to be able to make your own pizza. And to celebrate this child-free activity, the night also comes with cocktails that you too can make yourself. What a great way to try something new and maybe learn something new in the process. Not to mention you get to enjoy the cocktails as you make your pizza, and then have it right out of the oven for dinner.

For $50 per person (plus taxes and gratuity) each party includes the following:

  • Party Nibbles – Locally Marinated Olives + Cheesy Flatbread & Dip.
  • Cocktail Making – Your cocktail host will guide you through how to craft 2 seasonal cocktails.
  • Pizza Making – Your pizza making host will guide you through rolling out your dough, spreading our house made organic tomato sauce, shrinking scrumptious Canadian cheeses & adding your favourite gourmet toppings.
  • To Finish – Platters of warm double chocolate brownies served with house made vanilla ice cream.

As the first run of this newly conceived event our rendition varied a little from the outline above.

Our party gathered at the Main Street location, spread across a long table. Here, we enjoyed a couple of appetizers to get our appetite going, and to give the stragglers time to arrive.

When fully assembled our gathering of 8 was split into two groups and our night began with the cocktail making portion. We tried our hand at two of their signature sips, getting a step by step lesson from one their restaurant’s bartenders. Most of us, like myself, unfamiliar with proper tools and technique, got the benefit of a crash course.

I liked the “Earl grey gin” cocktail the most with the use of their own house made tea mixture. It was like a ice tea, but spiked. Refreshing and easy to drink, and great with most plates.

The “Triple berry mojito” was muddled mint, black berries purée and rum. Another refreshing cocktail that paired well with all the fresh ingredients of our pizzas to come.

And as we double fisted our tasty cocktails creations we began the pizza making portion of our night. Everyone got their own round of dough to flatten and roll out over flour with a rolling pin. Majority of us formed traditional 10 inch flat circles; whereas I got a little creative, shaping my flat bread pizza into a heart.

From here our pizza making coach came around with sauce and topping options. We were advised to not go over four toppings or else we wouldn’t be able to taste the crust past the layers. Here, I would have loved to have all the ingredient options before me, to pick and choose what I wanted as a pleased. This, instead of having my options come around and what I wanted rationed out by the handful.

First, comes the sauce, our choice was between pesto or tomato. We were given the option to do both, and majority of us took the opportunity to do half-half.

Next came the first layer of cheese, a handful each to spread evenly over our pizza in the making.

Next came the cooked meat toppings like chicken, ham, bacon, pepperoni, and sausage; to name a few.

After, fruit and vegetable options like mushrooms, onion (sautéed and raw), grilled tomatoes, red peppers, mango, olive/, spinach and kale; to name a few.

Then a second round of cheeses of the soft variety.

A few of us did go over the four ingredient maximum, but every flat bread pizza turned out just as delicious as the next. Especially as each diner made theirs to their preference and if they didn’t like the combinations, they only had themselves to blame.

Then off into their specialty oven they go. This part is with help from the “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.” staff.

And as we waited for our dinner to bake up, we made a mocktail featuring ginger beer, which also served as a great aperitif.

Each pizza was then plated, sliced, and placed before the diner. As a finishing touch you had the opportunity to topped your oven baked pizza with some dry cheeses like goat and Parmesan, and leafy greens like arugula and basil.

Then we ate and continued to drink, enjoying the meal before us and the experience behind us. But our pizza and cocktail making class did not end until dessert was served. Their popular double chocolate brownie with house made vanilla ice cream was the perfect way to cap off the night.

What a fun new way to enjoy an interactive dinner. Where else can eat the spoils of your learned knowledge? Adult pizza parties with cocktail component only at “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.”.

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FLATBREAD CO.
4186 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3P7
604-566-9779
rockymountainflatbread.ca

Sing Sing Beer Bar

Looking for an easy dinner on Main Street we found ourselves drawn in by the bright lights letting us know we could “drink beer here”. Their front window is as direct: the restaurant’s name on a neon beer bottle label, hovering over a sea of crushed up beer cans. And their sandwich board chimes in letting you know that you can also enjoy pho and pizza within.

The restaurant is brand new, crisp with new floor boards and tables that match in light birch, spacious with vaulted ceilings showcasing exposed wood beams. The room is set up like a beer hall with cafeteria tables, bar tops, and televised sporting matches. Although with the noise level you really can’t enjoy the latter. This is one of those places where you need to read lips to understand, and yell to talk. Plus you have to be in the bar area to get a decent view of any screen. Beer cans line the top of the actual bar. While you wait for a table, you can order here from all the options listed on papers, held in place with magnets, on back lit panels.

Seating is first come first serve, although there is a hostess by the door to greet you. She suggested grabbing a beer by the bar first and standing with it until a table cleared. Once you see a party start to leave and you dash over to claim their seat for yourself. I don’t like this style of self seating, because you end up hovering and rushing the party out before they are ready. Then you sit before the table has been cleaned.

Our meal began with us pushing left over food particles to the side with a folded menu. And there it sat until eventually, a waitress came by and pushed the rest of it on to the floor with a dirty rag. However, most of it landed on the bench next to my guest and the clothing she had over it. There aren’t any hooks for bags or jackets and it is either sit on it, have it over you, or beside you.

We were able to grab the corner of one of the large share tables and were given enough breathing room to sit and enjoy our meal without being shoulder to shoulder with the patrons next to us.

To start I ordered their signature cocktail, which is basically a spiked Vietnamese coffee. The “Sing sing ca phe” is available hot or chilled, I went with the former given the weather this evening. Bows and arrows coffee, suntory toki Japanese whiskey, sweetened condensed milk, fee brothers black walnut bitters, and cocoa nib syrup. It was as strong as I expected, but I would have liked it with more condense milk and for some of that listed chocolate flavouring to come through.

For food we tried both their pho and their pizza. The “Pho ga sing sing” smells like pho, but isn’t like any rice noodle dish with hot broth that I have ever had, and given the ingredient list it is probably the same for you too. Roast chicken, basil, sprouts, and quail eggs. The flavour went together, yet contradicted. The broth was light, yet heavy with an almost sour and tangy taste. It finished clean, yet was rich. It was a little too salty, but also packed full of varying flavours. But all together it was almost flat on its own, it need something else in between bites, another element, maybe more chicken slices and/or quail eggs to change the flavour and keep your interest. Even the traditional squeeze bottle of brown sauce would have helped. Overall this was was different and I enjoyed it, but it doesn’t need repeating. However, I would like quail eggs in any of my noodle soups in the future.

For pizza we went with the “Carne piccante” with brisket, bacon, and pepperoni. It is as cheesy as it smelled. Plenty of Parmesan to pair with the loaded sesame seed crust. The crust was a nice nod to their Vietnamese theme, paired with the meaty brisket chunks seasoned fully in familiar Vietnamese flavours. I know don’t if I like the price given how little pizza we got, but it at least tasted elevated. Meaty with a crunchy crust. Although at the end of the day, pizza for me is best chewy and doughy with more for less.

As for the service, we saw a rotation of servers walk by us, but we didn’t get the full service that you would from a restaurant that you didn’t have to seat yourself. Our server didn’t bring us water, nor did she offer any, and it was too hard to track someone down to ask for some in the end. Especially with a loud dining area, packed tight tables with narrow pathways in between each, and the set up of communal cutlery and menus that live on the table as permanent fixtures.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This place is different. Vietnamese restaurant, Beer hall, and pizza parlour all rolled into one. Giving diners who love all three the ability to have all three at once. They also serve as a safe space for those unfamiliar with Vietnamese flavours and pho; giving them the ability to taste and try, with plenty of beer to wash anything they don’t like down. A cool place to visit with a large group, but not advised for date night or a catch up session if you are planning to talk to one another. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SING SING
2718 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5T 3E8
604-336-9556
singsingbeerbar.com

Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Dine Out 2019 menu

Dine Out Vancouver is in full swing and with two weeks left, you still have time to take advantage of the deals and the ability to try somewhere new. Like “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.”. Looking at them, you wouldn’t think they are more than a simple salad and pizza place. But behind their all wooden exterior is a restaurant that offers so much more. More on their menu, and more for their community.

Before we began our meal, our owner/host spoke to their origin story. How they built their own oven by hand, wanting to use it to make healthy pizzas for families, like their own. They vowed to then and continue to connect with local farmers, to source their produce and ingredients. Ingredients that are used to prepare their rustic pizzas, which includes an organic bread base, made with dough that utilizes maple syrup to activate the yeast.

But they have more than just these handcrafted flatbreads, baked crispy in their wood fired oven. They also offer organic pasta dishes, salads, soups and desserts. All with a focus on the quality of ingredients used and the diner’s health and well being in mind. A lesson I would learn first had with an invitation to lunch.

Their Dine Out menu is available for lunch or dinner. A $25 meal that pairs whatever appetizer you choose with a house crafted mocktail, and follows it with a selection of their pastas or pizzas for your entree, and any of their desserts to finish. The following are some of the options we enjoyed, to help you in your decision making process.

The “Paloma mocktail” is made with pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed lime, simple syrup, and soda. You are able to add a shot of vodka or tequila it to for $5. This early afternoon I ended up keeping it virgin, and and enjoying the tart sparkling beverage as is.

For appetizers you can go soup, salad, or mushroom cap. For the soups your options are either their Seasonal Soup or the vegan Spicy Organic Tomato Soup. The former is currently creamy bacon and leek offering. A tasty combination available in your mushroom cap, and again in your pasta as well. A hearty soup that was great for dipping your side of focaccia toast in to.

The “Spicy Organic Tomato Soup”, was tasty, but not what I imagined it to be. More like a marinara sauce then the classic pairing to grilled cheese. It tasted as healthy as it boasts it is.

Want something that requires more chewing? Then you want one of their traditional salads. Either a Fresh Herb Salad (which is the Vegan option), the Basil & Blackberry Salad, or a Fig & Goat Cheese Salad. It is nice to be given a choice within a choice. The “fresh herb salad” included assorted greens, tomatoes, oranges, cucumbers, and Vancouver grown sunflower sprouts; all drizzled in their house made fresh herb vinaigrette. I like fruit in my salads, as it gives things some sweetness.

Sadly I didn’t get enough basil flavour or a single black berry in the “Basil & Blackberry Salad”. But the freshness of the bowl and the zesty dressing was enough to have me going for another forkful.

Although, I much preferred the fig and goat cheese salad, although I didn’t find a single fig slice, through my rummaging around in the bowl. But there was plenty of goat cheese crumbs to make up for its absence, and I love goat cheese.

But for something a little different, and if you have never visited “Rocky Mountain” before, the “BC mushroom caps” are the ones to get. Local roasted mushroom caps stuffed with your choice of filling, with 4 options to consider. I avoided the “Spinach & Goat Cheese mushroom cap”, for my dislike of wilted greens; and missed out on trying the “Bacon, Leek & Cheddar mushroom caps”, as they seem to be the most popular amongst our group.

So the “Roasted Veggies mushroom caps” are my pick or the “Sundried Tomato and Hummus” stuffed ones. But basically you are choosing each based on what flavours you want stuffed within.

For entrees your choices are between their flatbread pizzas or their chef’s pasta feature. Both customizable. Choose one of their traditional flatbread pizza from: Classic, Tomato Basil, Parma, Sundried Tomato (can be made Vegan), Naturally Meaty, Beef Pepperoni, Sundried Tomato & Goat Cheese, Farmer’s Market (can also be made Vegan), Pesto Shrimp, Genoa Salami, All Canadian, or Pesto Chicken. For a Gluten Free Pizza Crust you can add $3.00. And to make it one of their “Artisan Pizzas” like we did, you can add $1.20 – 5.00 accordingly.

They have a healthy list of vegan and vegetarian options, with the ability to transform majority of their speciality pies in a similar fashion. One of the more memorable ones was the “Beyond avocado veg” vegan pizza, it lacked cheese and you couldn’t tell. It had an avocado sauce base which was topped with zucchini, bell peppers, vegan beyond sausage, caramelized onions, and hemp hearts, all coated in a balsamic reduction. It was like eating a roasted vegetable salad with guacamole. A dynamic gathering of vegetables that keeps bites interesting, thus allowing you the ability to eat the whole pizza solo. Although I advise coming with a friend or two, to be able to order a bit of everything from their Dine Out menu, and share it all.

Another vegetarian friendly option is their “Farmer’s market” flatbread pizza, this also doesn’t come at an additional cost. It starts with an organic tomato sauce base, and to it adds mozzarella, a three herbed pesto, capriny goat cheese, and a collection of fresh seasonal vegetable. Today our vegetables included juicy cherry tomatoes, crispy kale, and squash that offered substance and a great starchy texture to your bites.

One of their more original artisan pizzas is the “Chorizo and cod”, with a spicy tomato sauce base, local chorizo sausage, fresh bell peppers, red onions, sun-dried tomato, mozzafina di latte, green onions, and pan seared ocean wise cod. It was delicious with so much depth in the tastes and textures used. And I liked how the fish was presented as breaded and baked nuggets, to really highlight them.

If you have never been, the “Fig and Brie” is the one to try. Black Misson fig jam, crimini mushrooms, local prosciutto ham, caramelized red onions, triple cream Brie, and fresh arugula dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon. I just wished for more slices of fig, as its sweetness paired so well with the salty ham and the pepperiness of the arugula.

The “Bacon and Potato” took what worked with the soup and the mushroom caps above and made it a hand held in this filling pizza. Garlic oil base, local potatoes, leek, caramelized red onions, double smoked bacon, a three cheese mix, green onions, coarse ground pepper, and rosemary. Hearty and delicious.

The “Parma” is one of the pizza orders that is available off of their Dine Out menu, without the need to pay extra. Organic tomato sauce, mozzarella, Schinken Speck cured ham, crimini mushrooms, mango, arugula, and plenty of parmesan chips. Another flat bread that covered all flavour and texture boxes. Sweet fruit, salty ham, stringy cheese, meaty mushrooms, and fresh veg.

If you choose the pasta route for your entree you can choose the “Chef’s pasta feature” from off their blackboards, (it can be made vegan). It is made with organic pasta and local seasonal veggies. And for $5 more you can get it with free range local chicken. The best part is all their pasta is perfectly cooked with a great chew and comes with flatbread on the side to scoop sauce up with.

Or you can add $1 to your meal for the “Penne Bolangnese”. Organic penne, slow cooked organic BC beef tomatoes made into a sauce, shaved parmesan, and basil. A classic tomato sauce pasta with plenty of ground beef.

For $1.20 more you get the “Bacon & Three Cheese Penne”. Organic penne, double smoked bacon, whole cream, sautéed leeks, aged cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, and caramelized onion. This was my favourite of the three. I found it like an upscale Mac and cheese, but with bacon!

And then you round things off with dessert. Like their house-made “Mango raspberry sorbet”. It is sweet, not tart, (which is the reason why I don’t like sorbet), and deceptively creamy given the lack of milk products used. A beautiful end with the essence of rose.

For something more rich you can order their “Warm double chocolate brownies”. Created with Callebeut chocolate, and served with a scoop of their house made vanilla ice cream. A chewy brownie that sticks to your teeth and melts on your tongue. Rich, but not to the point you couldn’t finish the serving yourself.

But my vote and the one I would come back for is their Vegan and gluten free “apple cinnamon crumble” served with coconut ice cream. I cannot believe this is vegan friendly. I didn’t miss anything in this. The ice cream was creamy smooth. The oats toasted evenly and coated in cinnamon. And the dried cranberry a nice pop of flavour and some chew. I can imagine this as a great way to start your day, or a breakfast granola on a hot summer’s day.

They also have a gluten free cheesecake for you to consider, with a toasted coconut base. Although no one decided to order this today.

If you aren’t able to make it out to them during the Dine Out Vancouver run, worry not, they will be bringing this menu back for Valentine’s Day and to it adding a plate of “Koko Monk” chocolates for you and your honey to share. The “First kiss” heart with a sour cherry and raspberry filling, and the “Coconut curry” patterned with a cold leaf print. Both are vegan friendly, using 100% chocolate and no sugars, and each is sweetened with natural fruits.

If the above doesn’t turn you on to “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.”, the following will. As I mentioned earlier, not only do they feed their community they also help to educate it as well. They give back with their “Earthbites” initiative, connecting families with their food. Teaching kids and families how to grow their own food and eat more seasonally. Similarly, they also work with over 3000 students from various elementary and high schools. Where they help to plan and create their very own school garden. Then they help to build the curriculum around access to said garden, pulling it together with nutrition and the importance of consuming vegetables. Like picking all the kale they grow and using it to make a kale smoothie. Thus teaching students raw recipes that they can do at home, themselves. A great learning as most students are malnourished; they are eating, but not eating the right things.

So as you can see, after getting the above run down, I was even more excited to sit down and dine with them. And I hope after reading all of this, you will feel the same way too.

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FLATBREAD CO.
4186 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3P7
604-566-9779
rockymountainflatbread.ca
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tocador, Happy Hour

Seeing some pretty impressive drinks and dishes come out of their social media presence I was excited to give “Tocador” a shot. Its pale pink exterior with white, pink, and blue striped patio was eye catching in its simplicity and new coat of paint.

Walking in was like an explosion of colour. The pastel walls and bold accents helped to craft this wonderland. Featured walls were papered in pink hibiscuses and blue. There was a mural of a joyous woman bathed in streams of yellow sunlight; smiling in full, surrounded by palm leaves. Pink patterned tiles creeped from wall to bar, its hue matching the striped vases that sat on the chestnut coloured counter top. I especially liked the up-cycling of the two vanities with mirrors, that sat on the actual bar as shelving.

This afternoon I visited their colourful restaurant with a friend to try their “Punch of the week”. I ordered it using a photo, but sadly didn’t get what was pictured. I was envisioning a tall glass goblet with a long stem, the length of my forearm. A lavish vessel to be enjoying a grand drink in. Instead, we still got just as big of a drink, except it was in a short and stout glass. This drink has a two person minimum. Its making varies from week to week, but it always has plenty of rum and fresh juices, and as the menu describes, “some stuff that will taste good in your mouth”. This week included a mix of both white and dark rum. It was good enough, but not memorable in terms of flavour profile, but let’s be real, I definitely got it for the novelty.

And seeing we were at the right place, at the right time: between 4-6pm; we also partook in their happy hour offerings saving on average $3 per dish. Although there were only 2 options available, and neither were printed on its own menu. So perhaps they were testing this out in their market? None-the-less, here they are.

“Croquetas con carne” potatoes croquettes made with a rotating selection of meats. Today it was lamb, you don’t get much of the meat, but plenty of its flavour. Little nuggets of dark meat embedded into the fluffy whipped potato ball, all wrapped and coated in crispy fried breading. The creamy white sauce it sat in gave things some moisture and another dimension of flavour, however I would have preferred a gravy or a tomato based sauce to give it a more familiar feel.

“Dip & Dab”. The name was fun. It was like chips and dip, but with crispy dried plantain slices and house made guacamole. A nice bar snack to nibble on as you drink, and on the healthier side too. Loved the crunch of the fruit chip and the lumpy guacamole that paired with it.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Sadly I didn’t get enough food or drink to give a full assessment of the place, but I did like what I saw and tried.
I will definitely be back for a more fulsome meal. In fact, a few days after this, I attempted to invite a Cuban friend to try their dinner service with me, to get her perspective on their cuisine. But after glancing at the menu she declared that it wasn’t authentic cuban cuisine, so passed. Until next time I guess. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

TOCADOR
2610 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5T 3E6
604-620-2433
tocador.ca

Restaurant Yugo

We came for dinner, my guest chose our destination having been impressed by the reviews she has read and the photos she has seen. They are located on Main Street, but the decor with its wood meet brick facade feels a lot more like a small bistro in Gastown. A very modern feel to parallel the sophisticated plates to come.

On this Wednesday night the restaurant was full and without reservations we ended up perching up at the sushi bar. Which turned out to be the best spot in the house. I always enjoy being able to see my food as it is being prepared, before I consume it. And at the bar I got to drool over my own serving, and at the same time side eye everyone else’s.

We ordered a handful of small plates to share, started with the “Uni from Peru”. $13 for 3 pieces. Us being at the bar, and the sushi chef being able to see us, he generously gifted us 4 pieces of uni so that we could easily split the serving between 2, with no argument on who would get the odd piece out. And I am so thankful because these were delicious, one was not enough. Creamy, like custard with the crisp cucumber for freshness and texture. Then there was the display component of the dish. Set on an acrylic platform with a light up bulb that you turned on and off or strobed with a remote.

Being bar side also gave us the opportunity to try a sampling of their house made truffled peach. Once again a perk bestowed upon us by the chef himself. It was pickled tangy and you get the truffle flavour immediately. It made for a great palette freshener.

The “Cherry wood smoked gravlax salmon Oshi sushi” comes cloched with smoke. With some theatrics it is removed and what you get is a smokey, torched square of fresh salmon over rice. It really takes the dish to the next level. But this time we had to share the third pieces between us.

The “Beef carpaccio” was thin slices of beef seasoned with chilli oil and tonkatsu sauce. Topped with anori, cured egg yolks, and greens. It was spicy with the peppery greens for freshness.

The “Hamachi aburi Oshi” was another lightly torched fish over rice pressed sushi box. It was spicy and refreshing with the jalapeño, the fried taro topping gave it some crispness, and the miso mayo some tang along with moisture.

The “Scallop risotto” helped to fill us with its heartiness. Hokkaido scallop, black truffle, mushrooms, ikura, honey ricotta, and bonito flakes. It was so thick and creamy that it reminded us of a savoury porridge, comforting with a good mix of salt and textures. So rich that I found myself at a two small bowl maximum. That and there wasn’t enough textures to keep eating it interesting, and this is with me rationing bites of scallop to enjoy with the moisten rice. We had plenty to take home as left overs.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I liked everything we had and wanted more, I just wish I could afford more in one sitting. You definitely get what you pay for here. Quality ingredients and professional techniques that have you tasting the difference. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

YUGO
4265 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5V 3R1
604-620-7878
restaurantyugo.com
Restaurant Yugo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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